CB: What is your preparation, before the season and during the season, physically and psychologically?
DP: “It seems like a separate package, but it is completely one package. Your mind sets up before the season or during the season, also depending a lot on how you feel physically or how you work during the week and before the race. Many things are going around in your life, so mentally it is kind of harder to always stay on the same level because there are things around your life, which you cannot control all the time. This in fact affects you positively or negatively also depending on how your energy is, how the last race was and your emotions. Whereas physically it is completely different: it is much more mechanic. You go to the gym, you do some training, you follow some routines where you feel good; at the same time also eat well, sleep well and have some rest. But it cannot only be that professional. You also have to try and enjoy your life a bit with some friends and do what makes you feel good. If you only follow the professional side, at the end, you lose performance psychologically.”
CB: What is the relationship between teammates usually? Do you help each other or do you run individually?
DP: “Usually at this level, at the high level of competition, you don’t help so much. Its common that you work together and that you have the same equipment and sponsors. So you have to have a good image and be quite gentle with your teammate. But obviously it’s a sports competition, so you care about yourself the most you can, because the teammate is also a rival and he will try to beat you all the time.”
CB: How do you treat your fans? What do you do when so many people jump on you?
DP: “With the fans its very difficult to have everybody happy. Its something you really enjoy when it is in a gentle way, while when it’s in a rush way you feel a bit uncomfortable in that situation. But you have to understand them; maybe they have been waiting there for hours and maybe they have kids who are completely in love with you. So you have to try and stay on their side a bit more, even if you’re in a rush for some interviews or other events. The balance is completely personal; it depends a lot on the person and on the sportsman you are; you have to figure out what is the best balance to keep your fans happy but also yourself.”